Super cool research project examines ways to cut produce losses

11/18/2013 04:01:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

supercooled fruitsCourtesy University of Hawaii, ManoaA new research project examines how fruits may be able to be supercooled below freezing without tissue damage.A university of Hawaii researcher is working on a super cool project to help minimize food losses incurred when items freeze and thaw during storage and transportation.

Soojin Jun, who's based on the Manoa campus in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, is leading the three-year study into supercooling, according to a news release.

When food freezes, water crystals form that can cause irreversible damage to plant tissue.

Jun hopes to preserve food's original freshness by controlling the supercooling and ice crystallization of water using pulsed electric and magnetic fields.

During supercooling, water temperatures drop below freezing but ice does not form.

A portion of a $500,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will fund work on a prototype freezer equipped with pulsed electric field and oscillating magnetic field generators.

Earlier research has shown that magnetic fields can reduce cell damage caused by low temperatures in living plants and animals.



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